Mamahood & Me

Anti Inflammatory foods

Anti inflammatory foods

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There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation is your body's natural response to repair a wound or fight off an illness, if you cut yourself the swelling & redness are signs your immune system is taking action and sending white blood cells and nutrients to the area and if you catch flu you may experience inflammation in the form of a fever as your body heats up to eradicate the virus. It is short term and the effects do not last. Acute inflammation is a normal part of many reproductive processes including egg maturation and ovulation but again this is a part of a gentle inflammatory rhythm not long term inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is long-term and underlies a variety of conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis & inflammatory bowel disease. Conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) & pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) have been linked to chronic inflammation and all of these are linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Inflammation is complex; stressdigestive problems, environmental toxins & allergies are all known to be part of the cause of long term inflammatory conditions. Fried foods, refined sugar, alcohol, & processed foods all increase inflammation in the body along with any food that causes you an allergic reaction and environmental toxins that have found their way into food.

There are a number of foods well known for their anti-inflammatory properties which when eaten on a regular basis can help control chronic inflammation.


5 of the best anti inflammatory foods:

Wild Alaskan Salmon

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This cold water fish is high in the omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) which are precursors of anti-inflammatory short lived hormone like compounds called prostaglandins. Try to eat once a week/fortnight.

Conversely, farmed fish are best avoided due to high levels of contaminants found in the fish, they also have around 50% less Omega 3 fatty acids than their wild counterparts, and are often fed on genetically modified corn and soy. You can buy Wild Alaskan Salmon from most good supermarkets, namely Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, and Tesco.  


Linseed/flaxseed

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High in omega 3 alpha linolenic acid which is converted by the body (albeit not very efficiently) to longer chain DHA & EPA which help reduce chronic inflammation. The high fibre content of linseeds protects the gut from absorbing inflammatory toxins. In addition linseed promotes healthy oestrogen metabolism. To get the full benefit of linseed it should be freshly ground from whole seeds each time you use it. Chia seeds are another great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. 

 

 Fermented foods

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Keeping a well balanced gut microbiota supports a strong immune system and helps stop chronic inflammation. Fermented foods like kimchi, kefir & sauerkraut add beneficial bacteria to the gut. Include fermented foods in your diet daily

More information  & how to make lacto fermented foods here



Dark green leafy vegetables

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Kale, swiss chard, broccoli & spinach are high in all sorts of vitamins and minerals important for good health. However, they are particularly high in Methylfolate which is the natural and best source of Folic Acid. Try to eat one or more of these beneficial foods daily.

 



Ginger

Studies have shown that ginger root has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Regularly spice up your food with ginger, add to juices and smoothies or make a soothing tea by adding grated ginger to hot water. Raw young ginger is also a good source of Zinc, which is an essential preconception mineral which many women are deficient in.